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FFG_Sam Stewart

Dice Mechanics Feedback Thread

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 I'm going to beat this horse some more…

I played a game on Thrus night with a couple recurring players, and one new player.  The first thing out of the new guys mouth at the end of the night was: "I really like this game, but it seems weird that you can get so much advantage but still not succeed… Like, I get it but it doesn't seem to make sense."

As an aside, I attempted modifying the rules such that a player could select any option for advantage usage multiple times (ie any number of boost die to the next player at a cost of 1/advantage).  And I've gotta say, this result seems to be exacerbated with the more dice you roll.  Two of my "veteran" players rolled new characters… one decided on one-dimensional  5 Brawn Trando Marauder, and the other went with a dude packing a rifle with the marksman barrel (accurate +2).

Lots of dice were being rolled, and we actually got 8 advantage and no success at one point… We had several instances of 5+ with no advantages… And my all-time favorite of triumph with 2 failures.

Next time I play, I'm going to try flip-flopping the symbols such that success symbols mean advantage, and vice versa.  We oddly rarely have any issues with threatcoming up in obnoxious quantities, but I think the "bad dice" have different distributions of symbols than the "good dice."

Really hoping for a fix here.  Somehow.

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So, this dice thing.

My experience with this system is now, after wrapping my head around how to spend advantages - and letting my players decide more than me (ie I make them unless they start crying for mummy) - pretty good. I have only made one change to the basic rules, which is that Triumphs count as three successes. So far this has not resulted in obscene results - I mean above and beyond the triumph mechanic. I am considering lowering it to 2 successes next sessions, just to test it.

There are still odd rolls, but trying to "roll with it" (no pun intended) and having an inexperienced and new player (ie clean slate: learning gaming through EotE) has helped a lot. This new player not being burdened by years of experience and systemic molestations from WotC and others has made the transition easier, more fun and enjoyable for all involved, expectations are thrown out the window in favour of "teaching" a new player "how to" role play - and we were all taken with out pants down so to speak - she approached and figured out this system a lot quicker than the "heavy weighters" of us, each with 20+ years of gaming under our belt (or over depending what you focus on, I mean, it could be hanging over and therefore be under the belt…)

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On a slightly diffrent dice subject. Can anyone give some examples of how to Upgrade the Difficulty dice?

I've been adding purple diff dice for hard to make shots, and difficult comp checks and the like. Even added setback dice for difficult situations or talents etc.

PCs use upgrades to their checks allmost every time they roll, but when does the task get soooo difficult that you upgrade to the red die?

Only 3 sessions but it has never come up / been used.

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Gamerunner said:

On a slightly diffrent dice subject. Can anyone give some examples of how to Upgrade the Difficulty dice?

I've been adding purple diff dice for hard to make shots, and difficult comp checks and the like. Even added setback dice for difficult situations or talents etc.

PCs use upgrades to their checks allmost every time they roll, but when does the task get soooo difficult that you upgrade to the red die?

Only 3 sessions but it has never come up / been used.

Upgrading the difficulty dice is a pretty infrequently used mechanic.  It's typically relegated to very specific mechanics (Dodge, Force Sense's defense mechanic, vehicle movement in hazardous terrain) and there are very few 'general' rules that invoke it.

However, if you are interested in using it more, you can check out the sidebar on page 17, "Increase, upgrade, or add". 

-WJL

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Gamerunner said:

On a slightly diffrent dice subject. Can anyone give some examples of how to Upgrade the Difficulty dice?

I've been adding purple diff dice for hard to make shots, and difficult comp checks and the like. Even added setback dice for difficult situations or talents etc.

PCs use upgrades to their checks allmost every time they roll, but when does the task get soooo difficult that you upgrade to the red die?

Only 3 sessions but it has never come up / been used.

I'll give you an example that I used yesterday.

One of my PCs declared an attack against a group of turken raider snipers who were firing down on him from the rim of a canyon. As he built his dice pool to make the attack, I flipped over a destiny point (from dark to light) and upgraded one challenge die in his dice pool, replacing it with the red d12 die whose name I suddenly cannot remember. I rationalized that the tuskens, upon seeing the huge gun the PC was bringing to bear on themn, all instintively ducked back from the canyon's edge and thus it would be harder to get quality hits on them.

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Yeah, Like LD says, look at the sidebar.

Basically any "upgrade" involves replacing an ability or difficulty die with a proficiency or challenge die - in those rare few cases when all dice in a pool is yellow (ie proficiency) or red an upgrade adds an ability or difficulty die. For instance the adversary talent from the updates upgrades the difficulty to be hit by a series of the NPCs in the back of the book (see update for complete list, but it seems mainly henchmen and nemeses gains this talent) - this means, as I understand it, that these foes will upgrade at least 1 purple - difficulty - die in the PCs combat check dice pool to a red - challenge - one.

Some of the attachments in the equipment, and starship, section also causes upgrade - I believe.

You can also upgrade players dice pool by spending a destiny point on some task they really need to do - this adds tension and potential disaster, as opposed to just failure…

Upgrades are not the same as increases - which is adding another purple die to the pool. For some guidelines you could also look to the fear table. Although I assume you already know this.

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Gamerunner said:

 

On a slightly diffrent dice subject. Can anyone give some examples of how to Upgrade the Difficulty dice?

 

 

I agree it's a little murky - perhaps intentionally so by the developers. My take from reading the rulebook is that challenge die are meant to represent special circumstances that don't upgrade the difficulty of the underlying task (i.e.: shooting someone at Short range), but do modify the difficulty of your specific roll in a way that is especially bad (i.e.: shooting Darth Vader at Short range). Mechanically, you upgrade difficulty when someone has a talent that makes you do so (e.g.: Adversary), when someone spends a destiny point to do so, due to the results of a previous action, or when as a GM you feel that you should. It's the last bit that is tricky to quantify. Here's something I posted on another forum to try and explain my take on the dice mechanics:

Specifically with regards to the opposing dice - the base of the pool is the difficulty (purple d8) dice. You then upgrade a number of difficulty dice to challenge dice (red d12) depending on any special circumstances that change the difficulty of the underlying task you're trying to achieve. Usually these are explicitly called out in the rules - things like talents possessed by your opponent, spending of destiny, or previous favourable (for your opponent) or unfavourable (for you) rolls. Finally you add setback dice (black d6) to represent outside factors, not directly related to the difficulty of what you're trying to achieve, but which make it less likely you will succeed.

The distinction between upgrading to challenge dice versus adding setback dice is probably the messiest part - and it isn't always 100% clear. The guideline the rules use is if something affects the absolute difficulty of what you're trying to acheive (in ideal circumstances) then it's an upgrade - e.g.: attacking a more skilled opponent - but if it's the circumstances that are making it less likely you will succeed (but not an inherently more difficult task) then it's a setback dice - e.g.: opponent hiding behind cover, poor visibility, etc.

A few examples:
You're trying to shoot a skilled bounty hunter, hiding behind cover, at Short range. Trying to hit the average opponent with a ranged attack at short range is an average difficulty check (2 difficulty dice) by default. But the opponent is particularly skilled and has a talent that upgrades one of those dice to a challenge dice, representing the fact that it he isn't as easy to hit as the average person. Finally, the cover doesn't make the attack inherently any more difficult, but it does make it less likely you'll hit him, hence it adds one setback die to the roll. So the "bad" half of your pool is 1 difficulty, 1 challenge and 1 setback.

You're trying to convince a group of local leaders that they should assist you in hiding from the empire. The GM decides that convincing a group of people to aid you for no obvious gain would normally be a hard check, and therefore sets the base difficulty at three dice. However, this isn't just your average world, but a staunchy pro-Imperial one where a large amount of the local economy is dependant on the Empire's good graces. So the GM rules that is worth 2 upgrades to the difficulty. Finally, an Imperial provocateur is active on the planet, and has been bribing some of the leaders to not assist. While this doesn't change the inherent difficutly of the task, it does provide aggravating circumstances that make it a lot less likely that you will succeed, so he adds three setback dice to the pool (the provocateur has been undetected and is doing a particularly good job). So the "bad" half of the pool for this roll is 1 difficulty, 2 challenge, and 3 setback - a very difficult roll for all but the most skill of characters.

I probably neglected to point out that because the base difficulties (i.e.: difficulty die) are very generic tasks performed in ideal circumstances, the book calls them out very well, and it's pretty rare that you'll modify a roll by adding additional difficulty dice.

Does that help?

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 Oh yeah, gribble reminded me of what's probably the most common use of difficulty upgrades in the system now:

Adversary X

Most henchmen and nemeses in the game now have ranks of the adversary talent now, which upgrades the difficulty of all attacks (all checks?) against them X times, where X is the number of ranks of the talent they have.  This replaced other published defensive talents the henchmen and nemeses had.

Check the weekly updates for this change to NPCs listed at the end of the Beta book, and be sure to include the talent in your homebrew NPCs.

-WJL

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LethalDose said:

 … Jeg …

[digression]It's kind fun that you call me that, as it translates to "I" or "me" … never really thought anyone would shorten it that much, it used to be shortened to Jeger … hehe.[/digression]

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One thing I find comparing the WFRP and EotE dice is one of legibility of the roll.

The WFRP dice symbols are very diferent from each other and some have obvious relevence - e.g. skulls and clashing swords for failures and banes (disadvantages), the warhammer for success etc. Even the triumph and Despair symbols are meaningful in the lore sense - Sigmars  comet and the Chaos star.

The Star wars ones though are both more obscure and largley the same in style - a circular-ish design with a largely hollow centre.
Far too many alike - success, advantage, triumph and despair are all too similar. The designs should be distinguishable at a glance even without reference to the colour of the dice. Very poor visual design.

Also they are far too abstract - a triangle - good or bad? An explosion - that me blowing up? or me hitting them?
They don't really scream 'good' or 'bad' at all.
Rolling some skulls and warhammers gives you an immediate sense that warhammers are probably good in a game called warhammer, whereas skulls are probably not good whatever the game is called. Rolling a bunch of triangles and explosions leaves me wondering 'is that good or bad…? and why?'.

Success is shown by what? Some kind of explosion?
No idea what advantage is supposed to be. Not one of the main rebel symbols.
Threat is what? A tie figher cockpit?
Failure - ok that one is distinct distinct, but is what? A thorn?
Triumph - the jedi symbol. Fine, but is a slightly obscure symbol for all but the hard core.

They should have been more varied, and also more Star Wars in symbolism.
Why not things like the main Rebel and imperial symbols.
A Death Star for Despair
Plus other well known and instantly distinguishable icons for the others?
Tie fighter, Millenium Falcon, Lightsaber, stormtrooper helm - whatever, the list is almost endless.
 

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 I just assumed the symbols we have were chosen because they are era-agnostic, whereas the Rebel and Imperial symbols only fit in the GCW era. I don't know that and I won't argue to support the point. It was just an assumption I made.

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Venthrac said:

 

 I just assumed the symbols we have were chosen because they are era-agnostic, whereas the Rebel and Imperial symbols only fit in the GCW era. I don't know that and I won't argue to support the point. It was just an assumption I made.

 

The stars would be far easier to discern if they were solid rather than hollow.

 

Ideally, one could recolor the symbols with a paint pen, making successes a different color than the advantages… and that would help with the readability.

I do find the iconography less thematic than WFRP3's - almost generic - and while that's not bad, in the long run, it's not really Good, either.

I do like that "good dice" don't have bad effects, and vice versa, quite unlike WFRP3.

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beeblebrox said:

 

I'd agree with Donovan. I feel like any situation that would warrant a Setback dice or a Challenge dice would be too dramatic or tense for a "Take 10". Simply having an "unmodified" difficulty along with more positive than negative dice would be enough.

 

 

Yeah, that makes sense, and makes the rule even simpler. Essentially:

At GM discretion, any check made when the active character is not in a stressful situation (such as having challenge or setback dice contribute to the dice pool), can automatically gain 1 success per proficiency die in excess of difficulty dice and one advantage per boost die in the dice pool.

I like it. Simple, elegant and covers the situation nicely.

 

Even easier would be, "if the situation is calm and there's nothing to lose (not combat, not a social chill check), ignore Threat symbols."

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